Project Management

Project Management Jargon: Ensuring No One Understands Anything

Every industry has a treasure of meaningful language. But it doesn’t mean that you should show it off to other people anytime, especially to those who don’t speak the same language, and cannot appreciate that treasure. In the corporate world, using jargon to communicate is believed to save time, but this is only true when everyone knows exactly what those terminologies that you’re using mean. You need to assume less that people understand what you are saying. James Sudakow discusses this in a post for Guerilla Project Management.

Speak Mindfully

Speaking IT language to those in the finance department, for example, is like speaking Chinese to Americans. In the corporate world, it’s all about learning to speak to people in the language that they speak—not the language you are comfortable with—to collaborate and understand the work of each other. As a project manager, your first job should be trying to figure out what language all of your key stakeholders speak, then learn to speak to them despite your discomfort or lack of background.

Some companies have embraced this mindful communication culture, and use non-jargon language every day. However, for many other organizations, it’s just hard to break a habit of “PMO-talk,” so converting PMO terms to something more “normal” in the workplace might be the best way to have messages resonate with others. Sudakow writes about his experience:

So for those of us who manage projects – large and small – in the companies we work for or consult to, our first job should be to figure out what language all of our key stakeholders (for lack of a non-jargon term) speak. Then we should speak to them in that language, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable we are. Some companies have embraced a very project oriented culture and use many of these terms on a regular basis. In those cases, let’s throw around as many as we can because it fits with the culture and actually reinforces what has been identified as important there.

Don’t talk nonsense to other people and make them ponder with furrowed eyebrows, “What does it mean?” Save your special language to communicate with people like you after everyone else has gone home. You can view the original post here:

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